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When to start over?


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 I've been listening to quite a few of Cory's older podcasts, and there's been a few times when someone asks about downsizing, or burnout. His advice of simplifying things made me think of one of my tanks, a 20 long where I keep a female Betta, golden minnows, and cpds. I have a love/hate relationship with this tank. I love it because it was the first scape I truly planned out and took my time putting together, from the substrate, to the driftwood, and full layout. I decided to use Eco complete on this tank. At the time I thought it would be perfect for growing plants while providing the dark contrast to the fish and plants. I've added 2 images; the initial setup with a Red tiger lotus as the featured plant, and a second scape with my favorite plant (at the time) Hygrophila Pinnatifida and Ambulia. 

 With the first scape, everything looked great for about 6 weeks. At the time, I was using Leafzone weekly. I had Rotala, Staurogyne repens, cardinal plants, anubias, and Java moss on the wood. Only the anubias and cardinal plants survived. Everything else died, including the beautiful Lotus. Around that time, I set up an island themed tank for my wife, using pool filter sand. Everything I've planted there (with root tabs) is thriving, except for the Hygrophila. I have three other planted tanks which are thriving. But my 20...it's become a thorn in my side tbh. Last week, I lost 3 Anubias there. I only started adding Easy Green in that tank in December. The moss on the wood is mostly brown. I battled BBA for months, until I added frogbit and became more proactive about catching it early. I don't want to use eco complete ever again. I've had such a hard time with stem plants. The substrate is so hard, and the tank is so shallow, that I have now gone away from fast growing stem plants. I have Anubias on wood, and a couple windelov ferns on the right side. The left holds the driftwood, and various anubias and cardinal plants. 

 I'm trying to decide whether to keep the tank as is, while not enjoying it much, or move the fish to our grow tank and starting over. I would use sand this time, and remove the media bags I have in there for depth. That was a mistake I made. I wanted depth, so I added several media bags with lava rock under the driftwood on the left, and ran it across the back of the tank all the way to the right. It left me with very little room for stem plants to grow. I'm just wondering if it's worth the stress to the fish to move them. Has anyone done a total rescape and NOT regret it? Any tips on growing Hygrophila Pinnatifida would also be appreciated:)







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On 2/3/2023 at 8:55 AM, Scaperoot said:

 I'm trying to decide whether to keep the tank as is, while not enjoying it much, or move the fish to our grow tank and starting over.

You have already answered your own question!  Start over.  The tank has issues and you aren't really happy with it.  Start over.  

I would consider keeping the media bags and seek out shorter growing plants. A mounded substrate adds a lot of visual interest.

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Leafzone is not a complete fertilizer which explains some of the losses. Also, mosses struggle in warmer waters. I wouldn't completely start over unless you really want to. I would remove the moss, trim everything and replant while continuing EG. 

I don't like Eco Complete, and I also swapped it out, so I can't blame you there 

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Considering a rescape is the reason to do a rescape for me.
I actually think (re)scaping a tank is one of the best things about the hobby.

As @Mynameisnobody is saying. If you don't enjoy the tank it will become a chore.

I just did a rescape of one of my tanks.
Went from just feeding it daily back to looking at it multiple times a day.
Enjoying the tank way more, enjoying the fish way more and in general take way better care of it all as well.

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1. Start over completely-  get a 27 g tote, move the fish, plant and hard scape and maybe a couple cups of the old substrate and do what you want. 
2. partial rescape- do it in sections divided into thirds and every weekend for a month tackle a section. Use a piece of food safe plastic and make it a divider, change the substrate and plants. Sketch out what you want and get everything in advance plants, substrate, hard scape and paint by numbers. 
3. Don’t do anything. Deep gravel vac, clean and trim heavy, get on an aggressive fertilizer and water change regimen. See what it looks like in 12 weeks. Still not how you want it? See 1&2. 
I’ve done all 3 and each has pluses and minuses. 1 is easiest but 3 can teach a lot more. 

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I have substrate regret in a couple of my tanks, only because I'd like them to be darker. I did break one down completely and replace the substrate a couple of months ago and I do not regret it.

It was a stressful task to sort through all the gravel I removed to try to make sure I was not discarding any tiny shrimp. Other than that, it was fun to relocate plants and stones to give the tank a fresh look. 

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